I recently held some discussions with mothers who struggled with their mental health after giving birth. The common thread among them was the struggle with anxiety and depression. Whether it was during pregnancy or postpartum, the emotional toll was the same. So I asked the question: What advice would you offer as help for new moms that you wish someone had told you?
I felt it was important to ask this question because every mom has her own birth story and I understand the importance for her to share her truth. Here is what they said:
Help for New Moms
- Ask for Help! You can’t do it your own. When your family and friends offer to help
you, let them!
- Don’t give in to mommy guilt. It’s OK to take care of yourself first. If you neglect yourself, it will eventually take its toll on you and your baby.
- Trust to your intuition. Don’t always second guess yourself; when you feel like something is wrong, tell the doctor.
- Be kind to yourself. You’re going to feel like you are losing it, you will freak out, you will cry, you will scream and feel all sorts of emotions. Its okay! That doesn’t mean you are not a good mom.
- SLEEP!!! Having a new baby means lots of sleepless nights, it will never be perfect but make sleep a priority.
- It’s ok to tell people NO! Don’t feel guilty either. You don’t have to please everyone who wants to come see the new baby. Protect your baby from germs and tell sick people to stay away.
While you will receive a lot of advice from well-meaning people, be aware that a lot of this advice is misguided and unhelpful. Sometimes, you may feel you are being judged for not doing things the way your mother, mother-in-law, or neighbor wants you to. Often their focus is on the well-being of the baby and not your own health and well-being. Don’t forget, taking care of yourself IS taking care of your child. Perhaps the most important thing anyone can do to help our children is to help new moms. There are many people who are here to help and support you, including, Aisha Brady, LMSW, PMH, in our office. To reach out to Aisha, please drop us a line.
You can find additional resources at Postpartum Support International Georgia Chapter.